“And perhaps in me someone very old still hears… the living sound of …wood     [1]     ”  (2017)       In the 19th century the old growth white pine trees of the Ottawa valley were logged extensively and shuttled downriver for export. Driven by the British Navy’s demand for lumber, the wholesale extraction and shipment of ancient trees across the Atlantic Ocean was as a tangible manifestation of a colonial ideology that laid the foundation for Canada as a nation.    Trees have a way of communicating with each other, forming communities and connections that stretch beneath the forest floor and across time. A mother tree can share nutrients and information with its offspring through subterranean mycorrhizal networks.  [2]  The removal of old growth trees forever alters the land – a cut or hole in the visual landscape also represents a loss of intelligence.    In  Camera Lucida  Roland Barthes presents the  punctum  as one of two concepts that can be at work within a given photograph. The  punctum  is likened to a wound or a cut, a “little hole” [3]  that in the process of “the chemical action…develops [that which] is undevelopable, an essence (of a wound)...”  [4]  The absence of the old growth trees – though submerged or covered over with new growth – represents a kind of tangible  punctum  in the landscape, a wounded place.    At the bottom of the Ottawa River lie old growth trees from the 19th century, sunken relics of the giants that once stood on its banks .  I approached professional woodworker Oliver Drake to create two pinhole cameras made from salvaged old growth pine timber from the river. I then used these cameras to document the landscape surrounding Ottawa as well as Temagami – the site of one of Ontario’s last preserved stands of old growth white pine and red pine forest.    The logging of the valleys around Ottawa began in the early 1800s before the invention of photography. There are no photographs of this place before it was deforested. I think of those trees often. What did it feel like to bob down river and roll across the sea? What did they  look  like – what did this  land  look like with them in it? What a loss this is.    In this work I use photography, video, sound and installation to create space to reflect on the trees that were once alive, the fragmented ecosystem that remains, and the persistent mark extraction has left on the current landscape.          [1]  Roland Barthes,  Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography , translated by Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), pg. 15.   [2]  Scientist Susan Simard has also observed trees sharing carbon through ectomycorrhizal fungi. Simard, Suzanne. (2016, June).  Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to one another.  [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_simard_how_trees_talk_to_each_other, Accessed April 12, 2017.   [3]  Ibid p 26,   [4]  Ibid p 49.
       
     
10_SF_2017_OLD_GROWTH_IN_A_NEW_FIELD.jpg
       
     
09_SF__2017_8X10_PINHOLE_4X5_PINHOLE.jpg
       
     
11_SF_2017_LOOKING_UP_LOOKING_THROUGH.jpg
       
     
12_SF_2017_THE_PORTHOLE.jpg
       
     
13_SF_2017_BIG_PINE_ON_THE_HIGHWAY_ON_THE_WAY_TO_TEMAGAMI.jpg
       
     
14_SF_2017_UP_THROUGH_THE_WATER_AND_UNDER_THE_SKY.jpg
       
     
15_SF_2017_FULLER_THE_PATH.jpg
       
     
16_SF_2017_I_DREAMED_I_SAW_A_GIANT.jpg
       
     
17_SF_2017_OBSCURED_LANDSCAPE.jpg
       
     
       
     
       
     
Installation at the Ottawa Art Gallery Annex (2017)
       
     
02_SF_2017_4X5_CAMERA_INTERIOR_SOUNDS_PINHOLE_INSTALLATION_0AG.jpg
       
     
03_SF_2017_THE_SHIP_THE_TREE_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
04_SF_2017_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
05_SF_2017_FULLER_ORPHAN_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
06_SF_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
07_SF_2017_DETAIL_RESEARCH_TABLE_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
   “And perhaps in me someone very old still hears… the living sound of …wood     [1]     ”  (2017)       In the 19th century the old growth white pine trees of the Ottawa valley were logged extensively and shuttled downriver for export. Driven by the British Navy’s demand for lumber, the wholesale extraction and shipment of ancient trees across the Atlantic Ocean was as a tangible manifestation of a colonial ideology that laid the foundation for Canada as a nation.    Trees have a way of communicating with each other, forming communities and connections that stretch beneath the forest floor and across time. A mother tree can share nutrients and information with its offspring through subterranean mycorrhizal networks.  [2]  The removal of old growth trees forever alters the land – a cut or hole in the visual landscape also represents a loss of intelligence.    In  Camera Lucida  Roland Barthes presents the  punctum  as one of two concepts that can be at work within a given photograph. The  punctum  is likened to a wound or a cut, a “little hole” [3]  that in the process of “the chemical action…develops [that which] is undevelopable, an essence (of a wound)...”  [4]  The absence of the old growth trees – though submerged or covered over with new growth – represents a kind of tangible  punctum  in the landscape, a wounded place.    At the bottom of the Ottawa River lie old growth trees from the 19th century, sunken relics of the giants that once stood on its banks .  I approached professional woodworker Oliver Drake to create two pinhole cameras made from salvaged old growth pine timber from the river. I then used these cameras to document the landscape surrounding Ottawa as well as Temagami – the site of one of Ontario’s last preserved stands of old growth white pine and red pine forest.    The logging of the valleys around Ottawa began in the early 1800s before the invention of photography. There are no photographs of this place before it was deforested. I think of those trees often. What did it feel like to bob down river and roll across the sea? What did they  look  like – what did this  land  look like with them in it? What a loss this is.    In this work I use photography, video, sound and installation to create space to reflect on the trees that were once alive, the fragmented ecosystem that remains, and the persistent mark extraction has left on the current landscape.          [1]  Roland Barthes,  Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography , translated by Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), pg. 15.   [2]  Scientist Susan Simard has also observed trees sharing carbon through ectomycorrhizal fungi. Simard, Suzanne. (2016, June).  Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to one another.  [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_simard_how_trees_talk_to_each_other, Accessed April 12, 2017.   [3]  Ibid p 26,   [4]  Ibid p 49.
       
     

“And perhaps in me someone very old still hears… the living sound of …wood[1](2017)

In the 19th century the old growth white pine trees of the Ottawa valley were logged extensively and shuttled downriver for export. Driven by the British Navy’s demand for lumber, the wholesale extraction and shipment of ancient trees across the Atlantic Ocean was as a tangible manifestation of a colonial ideology that laid the foundation for Canada as a nation.

Trees have a way of communicating with each other, forming communities and connections that stretch beneath the forest floor and across time. A mother tree can share nutrients and information with its offspring through subterranean mycorrhizal networks. [2] The removal of old growth trees forever alters the land – a cut or hole in the visual landscape also represents a loss of intelligence.

In Camera Lucida Roland Barthes presents the punctum as one of two concepts that can be at work within a given photograph. The punctum is likened to a wound or a cut, a “little hole”[3] that in the process of “the chemical action…develops [that which] is undevelopable, an essence (of a wound)...” [4] The absence of the old growth trees – though submerged or covered over with new growth – represents a kind of tangible punctum in the landscape, a wounded place.

At the bottom of the Ottawa River lie old growth trees from the 19th century, sunken relics of the giants that once stood on its banks. I approached professional woodworker Oliver Drake to create two pinhole cameras made from salvaged old growth pine timber from the river. I then used these cameras to document the landscape surrounding Ottawa as well as Temagami – the site of one of Ontario’s last preserved stands of old growth white pine and red pine forest.

The logging of the valleys around Ottawa began in the early 1800s before the invention of photography. There are no photographs of this place before it was deforested. I think of those trees often. What did it feel like to bob down river and roll across the sea? What did they look like – what did this land look like with them in it? What a loss this is.

In this work I use photography, video, sound and installation to create space to reflect on the trees that were once alive, the fragmented ecosystem that remains, and the persistent mark extraction has left on the current landscape.


[1] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, translated by Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), pg. 15.

[2] Scientist Susan Simard has also observed trees sharing carbon through ectomycorrhizal fungi. Simard, Suzanne. (2016, June). Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to one another. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_simard_how_trees_talk_to_each_other, Accessed April 12, 2017.

[3] Ibid p 26,

[4] Ibid p 49.

10_SF_2017_OLD_GROWTH_IN_A_NEW_FIELD.jpg
       
     
09_SF__2017_8X10_PINHOLE_4X5_PINHOLE.jpg
       
     
11_SF_2017_LOOKING_UP_LOOKING_THROUGH.jpg
       
     
12_SF_2017_THE_PORTHOLE.jpg
       
     
13_SF_2017_BIG_PINE_ON_THE_HIGHWAY_ON_THE_WAY_TO_TEMAGAMI.jpg
       
     
14_SF_2017_UP_THROUGH_THE_WATER_AND_UNDER_THE_SKY.jpg
       
     
15_SF_2017_FULLER_THE_PATH.jpg
       
     
16_SF_2017_I_DREAMED_I_SAW_A_GIANT.jpg
       
     
17_SF_2017_OBSCURED_LANDSCAPE.jpg
       
     
       
     
Performance with White Pine (2017)
       
     
The Ship, The Tree (2017)

Video of the ocean I filmed under a full moon on the coast of Australia paired with a piezo recording of a tree, processed in post production to sound like a ship. Original audio recording of the tree from : freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/

Installation at the Ottawa Art Gallery Annex (2017)
       
     
Installation at the Ottawa Art Gallery Annex (2017)
02_SF_2017_4X5_CAMERA_INTERIOR_SOUNDS_PINHOLE_INSTALLATION_0AG.jpg
       
     
03_SF_2017_THE_SHIP_THE_TREE_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
04_SF_2017_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
05_SF_2017_FULLER_ORPHAN_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
06_SF_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg
       
     
07_SF_2017_DETAIL_RESEARCH_TABLE_INSTALLATION_OAG.jpg